Oil spills may be dramatic and devastating, but they’re not the biggest contributor to ocean oil pollution — not by a long shot.
A report released Wednesday gives that distinction to fossil fuel runoff from highways, parking lots, and other land-based infrastructure, mostly transportation related. According to the report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “Oil in the Sea,” these sources are by far the largest and fastest-growing contributor to ocean oil pollution. At some 1.2 million metric tons per year — a very rough estimate, given large data gaps — the amount of oil that gets transferred from land to sea is at least an order of magnitude larger than the amount from any other source.
“When you look at this ‘consumption’ number, it overshadows all the others,” Victoria Broje, a principal emergency management specialist for Shell and one of the report’s authors, told reporters at a media event on Wednesday. The report was co-sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, a fossil fuel industry trade group, in addition to federal agencies from the U.S. and Canada.
The report builds on decades of previous resear... Read more